Église de la Madeleine
Paris, France
Aristide Cavaillé-Coll, 1846
In 1777, Guillaume-Martin Couture razed the incomplete construction of a previously planned church and started anew. At the start of the Revolution, however, only the foundations had been finished and work was discontinued while debate simmered as to what purpose the building might serve in Revolutionary France. In 1806 Napoleon made his decision, commissioning Pierre-Alexandre Barthélémy Vignon to build a Temple de la Gloire de la Grande Armée (Temple to the Glory of the Great Army) based on the design of an antique temple. The existing foundations were again razed and work began anew. With completion of the Arc de Triomphe in 1808, the original commemorative role for the temple was blunted. After the fall of Napoleon, with the Catholic reaction during the Restoration, King Louis XVIII determined that the structure would be used as a church. Vignon died in 1828 before completing the project and was replaced by Jacques-Marie Huvé. In 1837 it was briefly suggested that the building might best be utilized as a train station, but the building was finally consecrated as a church in 1842.

The organ was completed in 1846 even though the plate-name on the console reads: "Cavaillé-Coll Père et Fils, facteur d'orgues du Roi, 1845"  (Cavaillé-Coll Father and Son, King's organ builders, 1845). At that time, Aristide was still working with his father, Dominique Cavaillé-Coll, although, on the whole, the instrument was the creation of Aristide. The two organ builders were trying to achieve new goals with this instrument.
The tonal structure, the large number of flues, the location of the console, now facing the altar, everything contributed to deliver a romantic quality, even symphonic, to the ensemble and to transform the liturgical organist into a concert virtuoso.
At the time of installation, it was a 46-stop, four-manual and pedal instrument and all pipework was included in the single organ case, lessening the contrast between the Positive and the main organ. It was restored by Cavaillé-Coll's successor Charles Mutin in 1927, who also extended the manuals in the high notes. In 1957, organ builder Roethinger from Strasburg, aided by Robert Boisseau, added six new stops among which are mixtures. In 1971, Danion-Gonzalez electrified both the key and stop action while the number of stops was increased to 57. In 1988, Dargassies added one more stop.
photo pierremarteau
Boëllmann - Prière et Toccata
Florence Ladmirault, organ
Lefébure-Wély - Boléro
photo Shahee
Louis Vierne, Symphonie no. 3 - Juan Maria Pedrero, organ
Allegro maestoso
Organ improvisation played
by Ronny Krippner
photo Scape
François-Henri Houbart at la Madeleine, Paris
Improvised Scherzando
Improvised Fonds d'orgue
Improvised Sortie
photo Canonpauls
Charles-Marie Widor's Ninth Organ Symphony, 'Gothique.'  Frederic Ledroit, organ
I - Moderato
II - Andante Sostenuto
III - Allegro
IV - Moderato (1 of 2)
IV - Moderato (2 of 2 )

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